Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Hell Baby - 2013

"Hell Baby" - 2013
Dir. by Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon - 1 hr. 38 min.

Official Trailer #1

by Clayton Hollifield

What happens when you combine half of the actors from Adult Swim and half of the actors from Comedy Central, and a possessed baby horror movie plot?  "Hell Baby."  Is that a good thing?  That's going to take a little bit longer to answer.

Jack (Rob Corddry) and Vanessa (Leslie Bibb) move into a run-down house in New Orleans, not knowing that the locals refer to it as the "House of Blood."  It also comes with F'resnel (Keegan-Michael Key), who lives in the crawlspace, and has a bad habit of surprising people when he shows up.  The house starts negatively influencing super-pregnant Vanessa, who starts drinking and smoking and can apparently communicate with ghost dogs.  A pair of dimwitted cops (Paul Scheer and Rob Huebel) and a pair of very European Fathers (Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant) are dispatched to find out what's behind some of the gory things suddenly happening surrounding Jack and Vanessa.

On occasion, I'll watch a film that's made by comedians that I generally like (in this case. directors Lennon and Garant, who you might know from "The State" or "Reno 911"), but it deals in a genre of film that I don't particularly care for.  It's the nature of comedy, and comedy groups in particular, that they're going to have to tackle different subject matter over time, because that's way easier to do than to overhaul everyone's comedic sensibilities.  I very rarely see a horror film, and usually the only reason that I do is if there are actors involved that I really want to watch.  "Hell Baby" is a perfect example of this, and how I usually end up feeling about this situation.  In the first place, at least I was motivated to watch the film, which I can't say about 99% of horror films, so there's that.  But this film also takes residence fairly low on the list of works that I've enjoyed by this batch of people (any of them, really).

"Hell Baby" isn't terrible, and there are both very funny moments and very funny people involved here.  One of the other traps that comedies can fall into is that the main characters don't get any of the good material, playing straight men to the cast of crazies that they come across.  That happens here, Corddry doesn't really bust off anything memorable, but that's not really the role.  He's more of the put-upon, freaked out guy that stuff happens to, and he pulls that off well.  Leslie Bibb does a great comedic job of alternating between faux-innocence and manipulative demonically-possessed wife (well, it's the demon that's in her womb, really).  Everyone else gets to roll in, do something funny, and then disappear.  And there's a fairly long list of instances of that succeeding, my favorite being Kumail Nanjiani's low-speed departure from the House of Blood.

The biggest thing about "Hell Baby" is that how much you enjoy it is going to largely depend on how much you like horror films, because even though this is a comedy, the plot is going to hit all the horror movie standard plot points in order.  If that doesn't appeal to you, there are laughs all the way through the film, and it goes by fairly smoothly, but you're still going through the framework of a horror film.  Everyone has a particular genre that they're partial to, and this was outside of mine.  The people involved in making "Hell Baby" were enough to get me on-board, but I didn't get anything beyond that out of watching it.  Even if you love horror movies, I don't think this would suddenly become an instant classic.  "Hell Baby" did accomplish one thing, though.  I really want to try one of those Po-Boy's that warranted not one, but two mouth-orgy scenes.

2 / 5 - TV (HD)

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